“Yes, I came to look for you,” Amanda said.
“Then come in,” Xiao You said, opening the door wide.
Amanda looked at Xiao You.
Xiao You only smiled at her.
Remained gripping onto the strap of her handbag, Amanda lowered her head and walked in into the penthouse.
“Please take off your shoes and put them here,” Xiao You pointed at the shoes rack.
Amanda, in a speed of flash, looked at Xiao You for the weird statement of asking her to take her shoes off. Both of them were supposed to be enemies!
But come to think of it, Xiao You invited her into the house… of course she had to adhere to people’s house rules, right?
Amanda took off her shoes, and then she walked in bare footed into the living room.
Xiao You sits down on the seat that she had just got up from, where she reads her book. “Have a seat,” she pointed to the couch opposite hers.
Amanda sits down as directed. She looked at Xiao You. Xiao You seems calm. Or was it the calm before the storm?
Amanda came to confront her. She even prepares herself in case they are going to fight… but seeing Xiao You now…
“Oh, I forgot to introduce myself, my name is Xiao You,” Xiao You said, interrupting Amanda’s thoughts and the urging desire to look at Xiao You to interpret or define her (Xiao You) according to what and how she (Xiao You) looks like.
“I see,” Amanda replied. “Nice meeting you,” she awkwardly said.
Xiao You smiled. “I don’t really think it is that nice for you to meet me,” she clasped her hands together. “I don’t think you really want to ‘meet’ me but I understand why you are coming,”
“How do you know that I am coming to look for you and not Xi Men?”
“Because you know that it is working hours right now and thus it means Xi Men is working in his Xi Men Corporation and he won’t be home. The only person who would be home, is me. So you came all the way to Xi Men’s penthouse on a working hours, is definitely not to look for Xi Men,”
Amanda smiled lightly. “You are smart,”
“It is just common sense,” Xiao You said, “I am not going to waste time asking if you need a drink because that is not what you are looking for from me. We are both adults and mature enough to handle things. So, spill it,”
Amanda took a deep breath. “Fine,” she said. “Then let’s get it straight,”
Xiao You nodded.
“I think it is good that Xi Men told you about me. At least I don’t have to introduce myself. And since you know about me, you know about Xi Men going to get married, so why are you still clinging onto him?”
Xiao You eyes’ shot up to look at Amanda. “Then may I ask, since you know about me NOW, why are you still clinging onto him?”
“I come in first!”
“No you didn’t,” Xiao You calmly said.
“I am the one engaged to him!”
“Formerly,” Xiao You said.
“But that didn’t mean you can own him!”
“That doesn’t mean you own him too, right?”
“Miss Xiao You, I love Xi Men!”
“Did he love you back, Miss Amanda?”
Amanda looked at Xiao You. Xiao You had not raised her voice at all towards Amanda but she is the one who had been over reacting and… she suddenly feels humiliated with how she had reacted.
Xiao You is so matured to handle all of these peacefully and calmly.
“I love Xi Men. I want to marry him. I have booked my venue, gotten my wedding gown and even sent out all the invitation cards. Everything is fully prepared… it is only waiting for that day to come to walk down the aisle…”
“You didn’t answer me if he loves you,”
“I am sure he will,”
Xiao You smiled. “Amanda,” she called. “I still didn’t get a clear picture on why you came,”
Amanda bites her lips and took a really deep breath, “I want Xi Men back and I want you to leave,”
“You want me to leave?” Xiao You repeated the words nonchalantly.
“Yes, back to where you belong,”
A small smile formed on Xiao You’s face as she tilted her head and looked away for a while before focusing back to Amanda.
“Like, of all times, why do you have to come in now and disrupt everything?” Amanda rolled her eyes and said her words in detest. “To be honest, you are just a commoner,”
That word again.
If Amanda thinks that uttering those words can weaken Xiao You or make her feels bad, then Amanda is wrong.
Xiao You is a strong person. Demeaning and degrading words that are uttered by anyone, including Amanda, will not affect her.
The only person that could weaken her is Xi Men. And Xi Men has said it: he doesn’t care about her status and instead, he said she is no longer a commoner now for she is taking his status.
He has said it. She is living it.
With a smirk on Xiao You’s face, since it doesn’t bother her at all, she gazes at Amanda, “So? Is that something degrading to you? If me being a commoner is so degrading to you, then why are you coming over and bow yourself down to talk to me like this since you look at yourself at such a highly manner?”
“You…!” Amanda formed a fist in her hand. “You don’t match Xi Men!”
“I don’t live in your life. So why does me matching with Xi Men or not, plays such a huge importance to you?” Xiao You asked. “At the end of the day, you still come and beg me, a commoner you despised, to give you back something you assumed you had,”
“I did not assume, I had him,”
“Yeah, I know. Only on the occasional and unwanted dates, right?” Xiao You smirked.
“I come to nicely talk to you! Don’t talk to me like that! And I did not come and beg you; I came to tell you to get back off!”
“Talk nicely? Look at who is raising her voice now?” Xiao You asked her. “Your action and words did not depict who you actually are, what you did had just practically degraded yourself,”
Amanda shot her eyes at Xiao You and swallowed the lump in her throat.
Amanda had to suppress her anger. Xiao You pushes the right button. Amanda had no choice but have to live up to her status since that is what she had said earlier, eager to ‘push’ Xiao You off but is backfired instead. Xiao You had no problem addressing herself as a commoner or a ‘despised commoner’ but she can’t be addressed as ‘improper elite’. She just can’t. She was brought up to live up to that status.
“This is the problem with people like you who addressed herself so highly she is basically living in a castle up in the sky. People like you always differentiate things between poor and rich, commoner and elite, this and that; which is why you are blinded by things you always thought you had it better and missing out the best things in life. If you have problems talking to a commoner, you don’t have to come. If you think you are better than commoners just because you are rich, you might want to buy the world to yourself too, or… even better, buy the oxygen in this world because you are sharing it with me now,” Xiao You smirked. “And just so you know, despite we have different statuses, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to die. You’ll probably end up in an expensive grave and designer casket but that’s about it. So are you telling me you are better than me? Yes, probably. But we will end up the same way too,”
Amanda looked at Xiao You. “What are you… teaching me about life?”
“Pretty much. I know it bothers you that you are an elite and I am a commoner but that doesn’t bother me so if you keep using it to talk to me sarcastically, or threatened me, or whatever it is, it is just pointless and useless. I wouldn’t give a damn. You are free to use it to threaten people outside of this house of mine, but it will not affect me. And right now I will be talking to you and get right down to business the mature way; by stripping down those useless statuses between you and me so that you and I can settle the matters once and for all, how’s that?”
Amanda could only stare at Xiao You. She suddenly feels that Xiao You’s suggestion is probably the best since they could get it right into details. Using their statuses in their conversation wouldn’t really solve the problem.
Amanda nodded at Xiao You.
“You know, Xi Men said you are a really nice person. But what you have just said and did…” Xiao You said. “…is not something I have expected from you,”
Amanda took a deep breath, and Xiao You again hits it right on the spot. She had never raised her voice to this extent. It is good to hear from Xi Men to say she is a nice person but she seemingly did the opposite in front of Xiao You. So… is her good image ruined now?
“But I know why you do that,” Xiao You smiled at her. “I know it is a pain in your ass to come in here to find Xi Men, and also, finding me in this exclusive penthouse where you have always thought you should be the one to stay here but suddenly you find yourself being kicked out and then your place has been replaced. Not only that, you have to sit down and face me, probably someone you hated, to talk me out and give you back your ex-fiancé and also everything else,”
“I thought we are mature enough to talk properly,” Amanda said, seemingly offended with what Xiao You had said.
“I said mature enough to strip the statuses in conversation. Haven’t we’ve been speaking ‘properly’ now? But at the same time, have I said anything wrong? I don’t think you like me, right?” Xiao You said.
“No, I don’t, and I am sure you know I don’t have a reason to like you, right?” Amanda said.
Xiao You remained smiling. “I know. Because it is the same with me, I don’t have a reason to like you too,”
Even though Amanda had expected that Xiao You wouldn’t like her, but hearing that statement itself is really hurtful and at the same time offensive. Maybe she had gotten used to being called nice, but when one said she is not likable, she takes it to the head.
“You need to look at the situation from a different angle, woman,” Xiao You said.
Amanda looked at Xiao You and suddenly despises that annoying smile on Xiao You’s face which seems to have glued on the face forever. “What do you mean?”
It is as though Xiao You heard her thoughts – but actually things are running in Xiao You’s mind; that smile fades off from Xiao You’s face at a speed of lightning, to which, even though it is indeed better that the smile is off from the face, but it is horrifying that she could get rid of the smirk just like that.
Amanda swallowed a lump in her throat the moment she saw the expressionless face of Xiao You.
“Xi Men is not an object or a toy that you can snatch or take as well as give away whenever you want to,” Xiao You looked at her.
“You took him away from me!”
“As expected, you would definitely say that. I am telling you that I didn’t take him away from you. In fact, I didn’t do anything. He chose to come to me,”
“Of course you are not going to admit!”
Xiao You smirked at Amanda. “Have you thought that, I have been living on my own all my life. Do you really think I need a man, or specifically a man who is engaged to you?”
“Why not? Since he is like… a CEO, rich, handsome, nice…” Amanda said.
“What’s with him being a CEO, rich and handsome?”
“That is like what every woman wants,” Amanda said.
Xiao You stared at Amanda. “Is that all you know about Xi Men?”
“I know who he is. I don’t have to tell you what I know about him,”
Xiao You suddenly smiled for she knew Amanda didn’t know Xi Men well but pretend as though she (Amanda) knew.
“Well, you do not have to make it or think in a way as though I took him away from you,” Xiao You said. “I know you came to look for me, but I guess I was wrong as well that you probably shouldn’t have come to look for me as the questions and requests you have directed to me are not meant for me. It should be addressed to Xi Men,”
Amanda looked away for a while, pondering on those that Xiao You had said. “What do you mean I should address to him…?”
“Because it is entirely Xi Men’s decision to be with me,” Xiao You smiled.
“So, you are telling me you don’t play a part in this?”
“Have you forgotten that besides you and I have feelings, Xi Men have feelings too? And that Xi Men has an option to make for himself as well?”
“If you haven’t came in into the picture…”
“If he wants to be with you, he can be with you. I will not object to that,”
Amanda immediately stunned with Xiao You’s interruption. What did she just say?
What does that statement mean?
“What?” Amanda asked.
“I did not force, control or manipulate him to be with me. He is not married to me so he is not obligated to be with me,” Xiao You said, gently turning her head away before she looked back at Amanda. “So, if he likes you and wants to be with you, he can go ahead to be with you. I will not stop him and I don’t have a reason to stop him to be with the one he loves,”
Amanda frowned. That is strange. Xiao You isn’t fighting for him?
“I don’t understand. Why…? Why are you so… casual? Why aren’t you…?” Amanda stammered.
Xiao You smirked. “I know what kind of answers you are looking for. No, that is not the answer I will give you. You need to be clear. Xi Men picked me and it is solely his decision. So stop thinking at the back of your mind that I ruined your marriage by stealing a man you have never owned. I have never done that and I don’t need to do that,”
Plan ruined. That is not what Amanda had expected to hear and she didn’t know what to say now.
She looked at Xiao You, “You… really didn’t…” Amanda asked with a frown on her face.
Xiao You remained smirking and shook. “You know I have a daughter, right?”
Amanda nodded. “Xi Men’s daughter,”
“Yes. I have been on my own with my daughter for 9 years. So, why do I need to take your man out of a blue? Why not years ago? Why now?”
“I…” Amanda wasn’t sure what to say. “Umm…”
Xiao You tilted her head, “Do you have something you want to ask me?”
Amanda looked at Xiao You. “I…” she lowered her head, took a deep breath and then she lifted her head up and looked at Xiao You again. “If he is really coming to you on his own guards, and you said you have been on your own for 9 years, then… why when he came to you… you accept him?”
“I let my daughter decides if she wants him in her life,”
“So you are saying you don’t want to?”
“I do. But my daughter’s acceptance is the most important,”
“You don’t love him?”
“I have been, for 9 years,” Xiao You replied. “But it took a lot of things into consideration to accept him,”
“Is it that tough?” Amanda rolled her eyes.
“You don’t know people’s issues and inner turmoil to judge people so watch what you speak,”
Amanda glared at Xiao You for that remark.
“You can always force Xi Men to get back to you and get married to you. But can you force him to love you too?” Xiao You asked.
“I don’t have to force but I know he will,”
“Do you know the key to a guy’s heart is not by forcing him into a marriage he doesn’t want to be in?”
Amanda immediately quiets.
“I know you really like Xi Men, but have you really known who he is, and will you love him fully no matter who he is and what he did?” Xiao You asked.
“Of course I know who he is, a CEO, talented, rich guy…”
“You keep saying he is a CEO, rich, handsome… do you actually know him more than just being a CEO? Do you know Xi Men was a playboy in his schooling days?” Xiao You asked casually.
Amanda’s eyes widened. “Playboy?” Amanda shocked. “Xi Men was a playboy?”
Xiao You smirked. “Goodness, you really don’t know about that. You said so confidently earlier that you know him so well, but yet you do not know about this,” she said. “I am sure you are curious about what happened between me and Xi Men to lead to the events today. So, wanna hear some stories?”
Amanda stared at Xiao You for a while, before she nodded.
Xiao You took a deep breath. “Back then, Xi Men is one of the richest, one of the good-looking ones, and the infamous playboy in his school that changes the woman by his side weekly. Since Miss Amanda, you are such an elite person in your heart, can you accept a guy that sleeps with 50 women in a year as your husband?”
Amanda looked straight at Xiao You in disbelief. “50 women…?”
“In a year, I am saying, in a year,” Xiao You repeated.
Amanda remained in disbelief over what she had heard.
“Although I am sure you can force someone to marry you, but I am not sure if you could force yourself to accept a man with a past like that. When I know Xi Men, he is still a playboy. Asides from that dark part of his life, Xi Men is a nice person and he is true to his buddies. These buddies of his meant a lot to him and he will do all he could to help out his buddies as they would to him. Yes, they are the F4. The F4 had already famous 10 years ago in Ying De University for riches, looks and also heirs of the 4 major companies in Taiwan. They are however, famous today as the F4 in corporate world. So, actually they are more than just a bunch of CEOs you probably knew,”
Amanda blinked a few times. These are the things she didn’t know.
“Xi Men is a person that likes to keep some of the innermost thoughts to himself. It has always been his character that he doesn’t share with his friends, and not even anyone, which is why he is always deemed mysterious. He at times, makes his life sounds so carefree, relax, happy… but he actually had a lot of issues and conflicts deep in his heart. He will not give up at anything to solve these issues and conflicts. One of the issues he had in him for 9 years, was me,”
Slightly surprised with that last word of her sentence but not unknown of, Amanda could only look at Xiao You.
“Xi Men and I met in Teng Tang Jing’s birthday party. Just normal friends at that time, until he helped me when I found my then-boyfriend two-timed me. Even though Xi Men is a playboy, he disagrees with men being disrespectful to their women in any form of abuse, violence or a cheating man. Something so different for a playboy because you always thought a playboy means he doesn’t respect woman by going after or changing one after another, but it wasn’t the same to him. Xi Men may have been a playboy that changes girlfriend frequently but he ensures he adheres to the ‘respect’ policy he had set for himself and a clean cut-off relationship before proceeding with the next one,” Xiao You smirked. “He taught me about being confident with myself in so many ways. I fall in love with him,”
“And him? Did he fall for you?”
“He didn’t. Only me,” Xiao You said. “I took a drastic move; I asked him for a week,”
Xiao You smiled. “But I left Taiwan before my week is over,”
“I feel unsettled because I didn’t get Xi Men’s love so I came back a few months later for a short trip. I wanted to find some answers. Xi Men guards his feelings really well and he said it before he will not love someone, so I really want to know why,” Xiao You said, and then she looked straight at Amanda. “And then I found out about it,”
“What is it?”
“He had loved a girl before but he dares not commit,” Xiao You said. “And he regretted he didn’t show up when she told him she want to show something important to him,”
“It feels awful that one has regrets. I didn’t want him to feel bad. So I decided to find it. Spent my entire trip on it, and on my last night in Taipei, I found it,” Xiao You said. “I dragged him out and showed it to him,”
“What is that?”
“It is just a billboard,” Xiao You took a deep breath.
“So… Xi Men must have felt happy that you found it…”
“Not exactly. He was in tears,” Xiao You said.
“And that day; I had the remainder of my week. Do the deed with Xi Men. And I left when he is still sleeping on the bed,” Xiao You said. “Had a flight to catch, so… I just left without telling him,” she smirked. “But I definitely didn’t know or expect to have my daughter that one time too,”
Amanda smiled faintly.
“I have not been in contact with him ever since. But all I know is that when I leave that night, he is still a playboy. However I came to know he foregoes that part of life because of me. I didn’t know I would cause that huge impact to him, that I changed his life and I became the last woman he slept with and he falls in love with. I am sure no one told you about this,”
Amanda stared at Xiao You, bites her lower lip and then shook briefly.
Xiao You only smirked slightly. “Because you are not close to them,”
Amanda took a deep breath as she lowered her head and that Xiao You is right. “But since you have a daughter with him, why didn’t you tell him…?”
“I didn’t tell him not because I deny him, but because I do not want to trouble him and messed up his life like what had happened now. I like it the way life has always been. He leads his and I lead mine. I really do not want to make things so messy like it is now. But somehow he found out about his daughter,” Xiao You said. “I am fine leading my own life like this; just me and my daughter. But the reason I let him come back to my life is because of my daughter. She needs a father. And Xi Men is her real father,” she looked straight at Amanda, “You see, I didn’t want things to happen like this. You have your right to be angry because you are a victim in this situation. You have been unfortunately dragged in innocently and you have always thought I was the third unwanted party that ruined your marriage and possibly your life,”
“And apparently I am the third unwanted party…”
“I didn’t say that. You said that yourself,”
Amanda lowered her head.
“Xi Men has been looking for me for 9 years but failed, until I happen to come back for a trip a couple of months ago with my daughter,” Xiao You said. “When he found out that the daughter is his’, he wanted to be a part of us, so bad… so bad that he doesn’t mind to be disowned by his father,” she swallowed a lump in her throat. “Xi Men said that if the daughter, or me, couldn’t accept him, he will stay around still, to play his role. He wanted to be the father and the man he is supposed to be for the daughter and me,” she looked at Amanda. “So, if I really leave, by choice or by force, do you really think he is going to just sit around and let it be? Do you really think that life will then resume as it has been if I leave? Really?”
“So you are telling me he will still follow you…”
Xiao You just nodded.
Amanda swallowed a lump in her throat, and then exhaled a deep breath, “You are right… he is willing to let go of everything as long as he gets to be with you. He wants to get out of the marriage between me and him, and he doesn’t mind to lose his wealth and status as well as his job to just be with you,” she said, “He wants to be with you that he is willing to choose to be a nobody as well as risks everything he already had and achieved in his life,”
“Well, things don’t always turn out the ways you have wanted it to, right?”
Amanda took a deep breath and she lowered her head, still unsatisfied she had to lose to Xiao You like this.
“Have you ever thought that my appearance came right on time, actually?” Xiao You asked, after seeing her reaction.
Amanda lifted her head up and looked at Xiao You again. “What do you mean?”
“That I have just saved you from your potential miserable life?”
“How come?” Amanda frowned at her.
Xiao You crossed her leg over the other. “Let me give you a couple of situations here. I understand that if I had come earlier; before your supposed engagement to Xi Men, all of this is unnecessary. But what if I come later; after you have married Xi Men, do you think your life will be as happy as you thought it would?”
Amanda looked at Xiao You before she replied, “Yes,”
Xiao You shook. “You won’t,”
“Are you cursing me?”
Xiao You shook again. “I don’t know you prior to this, why would I be cursing you?”
“Because I have him,”
Xiao You smiled. “Seriously, have I ever implied to you in this entire conversation that I am fighting for him with you? I mentioned it earlier too, right, that if he wants to be with you, he can go to you? If I really fight for him or took him away from you, do you think I will openly say this and let him go back to you?” she looked at Amanda, and Amanda bites her lips for knowing it is a fact. “I think in this entire conversation, you are the one implying that you are fighting for him from me instead,”
Amanda remained biting her lips, and after a brief pause, “So what are you trying to tell me? That even if you came later, he will leave me too?”
“That, I don’t know. He will still probably be with you and stays in the marriage with you out of responsibility. But judging from Xi Men’s character, he will still find out about his daughter and if he choose to remain married to you at the same time doesn’t mean he will not want to be a part of his daughter’s life,” Xiao You said, staring at Amanda. “And not to mention I come later, but assuming if he is really going to marry you now, it doesn’t change a fact that he has a daughter with me. Does marrying you means he is going to forego his responsibility to the daughter? Does marrying you means he doesn’t have a daughter now? Well, I have no problems if he didn’t want to be a part of my daughter’s life because I have always been raising her alone and I am not seeking a paternal support from him, but I don’t think he would want to stay away from my daughter,”
Amanda’s eyes strayed. “So you are saying if he marries me, I still have to accept you, or your daughter… in my marriage?”
“In a way but not exactly that way,”
“Care to explain?” Amanda asked.
“I will not let my daughter get into your marriage. She will not call you a stepmother. I will not let her get close to you, so you do not have to find a reason to force yourself to accept her or me,” Xiao You said. “But you have to always remember, she is Xi Men’s daughter and it is a fact that cannot be changed. He will always want to spend time with her and perform his duties and responsibilities to her as a father. So if you were to walk down that path, you must remember that as a wife, you must respect him and that also means you must let him off with open heart to go to my daughter whenever he wants to be with her or whenever she needs him. In a way, you have to ‘share’ him with my daughter and you cannot complain about that,”
Amanda stared at Xiao You in disbelief, totally surprised with what Xiao You had said. “I… I have never thought of that,”
“Life is cruel. But for elite like you, life is amazing to you as they go around you instead of you exploring it. But there are things that are not under your control. For this situation, a guy you wanted to marry was a playboy and has a daughter which is a fact you can’t change. So, after finding out about these, if you still want to marry him, then you need to accept them. By going down this path, you have to be prepared that he will want to spend time with his daughter and not with you. Can you accept if he chose to spend more time with my daughter than with you? Can you actually ‘share’ him? And can you tolerate this for the rest of your life?”
“Rest of my life…?”
Xiao You nodded. “For as long as you are married to him. I assume it will be your lifetime,”
Amanda lowered her head. “I get it now…”
“I am glad you finally understand,”
Amanda did not say a word but took multiple deep breaths.
“Amanda, after saying all of these, I want you to know; you didn’t lose to me or to my daughter. You only lose to time,”
Amanda immediately lifted up her head to look at Xiao You. “Time?”
Xiao You smiled and nodded. “If you had known Xi Men and hitched to him 9 years ago before I actually came into the picture, then this wouldn’t happen. You have lost Xi Men because of the past he did. It is his option to come to me. As I have said, he finds his way to come back to me and my daughter. Whatever happened today is something that Xi Men had done in the past and now he wants to continue living it. You have to understand there is no way to undo everything that had happened,”
Amanda smiled suddenly. “I can’t believe I am hearing all of these. But I surely understand what you mean now, Xiao You,”